Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Post Revisited : STUFF

Since I have been dealing with packing up Mom's house and now unpacking some of her things at my house, I thought that this post from January 2006 would be appropriate to revisit (with a few changes)!

Stuff. Yup. Stuff. We all have it. We all want it.

It is both a blessing and a burden.

It starts when we are young. We want cool stuff. We ask our parents to give us that cool stuff. We get the stuff, or at least enough stuff to leave us wanting more stuff. We even get things to carry our stuff around and things to keep our stuff in order.

When we are young adults we want even more stuff. Now we work for our stuff. The more stuff we get the more stuff we want. We start to keep track of our stuff. We never have enough stuff.

As we get older, maybe we get married. Then we really get a lot of stuff. Still this does not satisfy us. Now we know we really need more stuff. We have to get a bigger place to live to keep all of our stuff with us. The place we get has extra room, so we get more stuff to fill the empty space. Then maybe we have children, and we have to get stuff for them, too.

And now we have to do more to keep track of our stuff. We worry about losing our stuff. So we document our stuff and take out insurance on our stuff. Our kids start to demand more stuff of their own. And because we know how important stuff is in everyone's life, we get them more stuff. And we increase our insurance to cover their stuff, too.

Now a new phenomenon starts to creep into our lives...

We start to feel that we need to get away from it all... all our stuff. So now we take vacations from our stuff. We take our children with us. They spend most of the vacation bemoaning the fact they want to get back to the stuff that they have left at home.

Then one day, the kids leave home, and we look around and discover that we have too much stuff. We need to downsize and get rid of stuff that we don't need anymore. We have garage or yard sales and sell our stuff to unsuspecting people who are still in the mode of acquiring more stuff. Then we take the money we make at the sale and decide that now that we have gotten rid of some stuff, we can now buy more stuff. And we do.

And so it goes. We get rid of old stuff, and replace it with newer and better stuff. We do this and do this, until one day we are too old to do it any more. Then our children have to do it for us. Maybe they move us to a retirement home. Our stuff gets redistributed. Now our children buy us things that they think we need or would enjoy. But it is stuff that doesn't take up much room.

Yup. We all have stuff.

Sometimes irreconcilable differences put a kink in this life plan of acquisition and disposition of stuff... for a while...

When getting a divorce, you have to inventory all of your stuff and finances. Then you have to fill out forms that require all of this information. You also have to pay a lot of money for the privilege of doing this.

Then at some point, someone will look at all of this information on the forms that have been filled out and will use some sort of formula to decide how much of the stuff you get to keep and how much money you will get to help you take care of your portion of said stuff. And then you get to pay some more money so that all of this gets recorded and becomes a legal document. You then will get to add this document to your stash of stuff... a smaller stash than you had before.

What happens next? Will you get to acquire more stuff? Will a reduced income greatly impact your acquisition phase? Will your children keep you in new cool stuff as you get older. Will you rejoice in your new freedom from excessive stuff? Will you finally get all of your closets cleaned once and for all?

I suspect that not only does life go on... but stuff goes on as well.

As for me, Mom having to reduce her stuff has been an avalanche of additional stuff for me. Some of this stuff, I will pass on to my children. Some of it will go to charity. Some stuff I am really grateful to receive. However, it looks like my closets may have to wait another year or so to get cleaned...


possum said...

WOW! This is one of the best posts I have ever read... it is all so true. Why do we DO IT? After having to clean out several houses and seeing what a mess people can leave behind and making vows to stop accumulating... did I really learn anything???? Well, maybe I slowed down a bit. No, I have slowed down a lot! I have! Possums aren't really pack rats... are they?????
OK, you have messed up my day. I hope you are satisfied! Let me get off this computer and go clean a closet. Hmmmm, maybe I WILL have a yard sale this week-end. Forget cooking the turkey, clean the closet, clean the barn, clean the attic............. sigh.
PS... are we lucky to have all this stuff - or is it a curse? Do we own it or does it own us????? I'll ponder that while I am cleaning out my closet.

Carmi said...

George Carlin would be very proud. His monolog dealing with "stuff" had a huge impact on me at a young age. Your excellent entry reinforces it that much more.

Good to e-see you again. My apologies for being a stranger of late. It's been a bit of a crazy year.

Cliff said...

Right on target you little pack rat.
You are correct. If we have enough stuff we begin working for the stuff. In farming we say someone who has all of the latest equipment is 'working for his banker.' Same thing isn't it.
Did I mention I hate rats and mice?

Rhodent said...

Cliff, it's okay about the rats and mice... I like you anyway

Rachel said...

Great post!! I sometimes look around and wonder how I got all this stuff!! I guess there is a pack rat gene in me somewhere!!